It all began with an apparition witnessed by young Bernadette Soubirous. After the first apparition on 11 February 1858, several more followed. The ninth, on 25 February 1858, marked a turning point: a few hundred people went with the “seer” to the grotto on that morning. As they looked on in amazement, thinking her mad, the young girl began to scrape the muddy soil in the depths of the grotto, then scooped up the resulting mixture of water and mud with her hands, and drank it. She also washed her face with it. “Go and drink from the spring and wash yourself there” were the instructions given by the Lady and heard by Bernadette alone. After this discovery, people came to the spring to drink the water and splash it on their faces. The first miraculous healings occurred in the days that followed. The Lourdes spring became a place of pilgrimage in itself and offered new hope for millions of sick people worldwide.